The latest edition of An Naidheachd Againne (“Our News” or “The News At Us”) is available to members of An Comunn Gàidhealach Ameireaganach (ACGA). The quarterly newsletter — now in its 26th year — is a leading source of information in and about Scottish Gaelic around the world, published by our association in North America. Most of the articles, news stories, columns, and features are bilingual, with some features, such as the serialized fantasy novel, Sgoil nan Eun, published only in Gaelic.
The Spring 2020 issue starts with “Alba 2030 : Buaidh is Piseach / Prospects for Gaelic in 2030,”an important article by Dr. Wilson MacLeòid (McLeod), professor of Gaelic at the University of Edinburgh. In December, about 60 people, MacLeòid included, gathered at the Scottish Parliament to discuss where they expected or hoped the language would be at the end of this new decade. There are few opportunities for concerned Gaelic speakers to gather together in this way, he notes. Here’s an excerpt:
“Chan eil e idir furasta fàisneachd a dhèanamh a thaobh na bhios an dàn don Ghàidhlig san àm ri teachd Anns na 1950an bha mòran eòlaichean glè dhubhach mu chor a’ chànain, agus iad an dùil gum biodh i marbh am meadhan an 21mh linn. ….
.. It is by no means easy to make predictions about the future prospects for Gaelic. In the 1950s many observers were very pessimistic about the outlook for the language, with some predicting that Gaelic would die out by the middle of the 21st century.”
Fortunately, the status of Gaelic is in many ways much more secure in the early 21st century. But is it sustainable? That’s a question MacLeòid addresses in this issue’s lead article.
As always, there’s information about upcoming events, online learning resources, interesting websites, grammar and conversational Gaelic, and more. To receive the newsletter, simply join ACGA, following the link on this website. The cost for an annual membership, which includes four issues of the newsletter, is only $35. If you’d like to review back issues, visit our free archive.
James Graham (Seumas Greumach), a Royal National Mòd Gold Medal Winner and a frequent instructor and adjudicator at ACGA events, will become the new chief executive officer of An Comunn Gàidhealach in Scotland in March, after the current CEO, John Morrison, retires.
Graham has been An Comunn’s Mòd manager since 2010, tackling the varied management challenges of national and provincial mòdsthroughout Scotland. He won the men’s Bonn Òir or gold medal at the Royal National Mòd in Lochaber in 2007, and was a special guest at the US National Mòd in 2008. He also has been an instructor at the ACGA Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week and an adjudicator at Mòd nan Lochan Mòra, the Great Lakes Mòd.
“It is a very great honor to be taking over in this post and I am very much looking forward to maintaining the outstanding work which John Morrison established, but I recognize this will be challenging,” Graham said in a statement.
“My ambition will be to strive to develop and strengthen the organization further in the future,” he said. “As a participant in Provincial and National Mods since boyhood and through my management work over the past decade, I have become increasingly aware that the Mòd is a foundation for Gaelic culture and its arts.”
A mòd is a competition and showcase for Gaelic song, storytelling and music. An Comunn has organized Scotland’s Royal National Mòd, as well as regional or provincial mòds, since 1892. ACGA, founded in 1984, has held 30 U.S. National Mòds and supports regional mòds in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
A list of this year’s provincial mòds in Scotland may be found here:
Youth organization and charity Young Scot wants to interest more young people in learning and using Scottish Gaelic. The group launched a national campaign last month that will provide a variety of services, resources and information online in Gaelic on topics from managing money to puberty.
“We know developing language skills is a great way to strengthen career prospects available to Scotland’s young people,” Ruairidh Hamilton, Gaelic Development Officer at Young Scott, said in a statement.
“This project is a really exciting way for Young Scot to give Gaelic speakers the resources that they need and to showcase the benefits of adopting the Gaelic language in everyday life,” he said. “We want young people to have easy access to advice and support that can help them achieve their future ambitions.”
The group, which has 675,000 members aged 11 to 26 in Scotland, has published information in Gaelic on several topics on its website, including a “Simple Guide to Learning Gaelic” and a section on “Cothroman Gàidhlig: Gàidhlig Opportunities.” It also offers discounts on books and travel and rewards for completing activities, such as writing a biography in Gaelic.
There’s growing demand for opportunities to learn and use Gaelic among young Scots, said the organization. Young Scot also wants to encourage members to pursue career opportunities through Gaelic. A 2014 survey estimated the Gaelic language is worth almost £150 million to the Scottish economy and offers career prospects in industries ranging from tourism to education.
The national campaign was launched at the Young Scot head office in Edinburgh, where first-time speakers and young Gaelic enthusiasts took part in an interactive Q&A with a panel that included representatives from the Scottish Parliament. The event highlighted the benefits of young people learning the historic and culturally rich language in the modern world.